What is an assignment in testing?

The assignment constitutes a contract – be it formal or informal - between a client  and a contractor. It described the goals of the client and the deliverables of the contractor, as well as the duties, powers and responsibilities of both. Although assignments come in a wide variety of flavors - an assignment in a traditional development environment differs greatly from an assignment in an Agile development environment – the general intent is always the same: provide clarity to all stakeholders (not just client and contractor!) on what will be delivered when and under which circumstances.

People Involved

Although the assignment is first and foremost an agreement between client and contractor, it is good practice to seek involvement of other major stakeholders as well.


The assignment can be a separate artifact, or it can be included in an overarching document.. The assignment should at least answer the following questions:

  • Who is the client that mandates the assignment? 
  • Which parties are responsible for accepting the assignment? 
  • What is the scope of the assignment?
  • What are the contstraints of the assignment?
  • What are the discharge criteria for the assignment?

Of course other items can be added as well, if applicable in your situation.

Success Factors

The success of an assignment is not measured by two signatures on a piece of paper or a mail confirming the agreement. The success of an assignment is measured by lack of uncertainty and haziness for all stakeholders during the project. Success factors are:

clarity of agreements in the assignment
engagement and commitment to the assignment by all stakeholders, that stems from familiarity with the contents of the contract